Jim McLennan has been casting the line since he was 12.
Naturally then, the longtime fly-fisher, author and Turner Valley resident has no shortage of writing on the subject for his recently published book Trout Tracks: Essays on Fly Fishing.
Billed as being “drawn from 55 years of excessive obsession with trout, water, streams and flies,” the book isn’t so much a guide or how-to on the subject, but rather a collection of contemplations on McLennan's passion.
“Certainly people who already do fly-fish I think would enjoy it a lot – there would be quite a bit of stuff they could relate to,” McLennan said. “Someone who’s just taking it up or is interested in finding out something, there’s parts of this that might draw them into it.
“It’s maybe more about the why than the how.
“They’re not going to learn to cast by reading this book – there's some how-to stuff in there – the rest of it is thinking about stuff and wondering why things happen.”
One such essay in the book, On Being a Noticer, begins depicting an interaction with another fisher while working in a fly shop.
Starting with the standard small talk, the two end up talking about noticing more ladybugs, and how that might make for a good lure.
The dialogue steers to other oddities one notices if only they took the time to cast a line.
McLennan was hooked early on when his father, already an outdoorsman, dabbled in the sport in his retirement.
“I started fly-fishing near as I can tell when I was about 12,” McLennan said. “He didn’t get very far into it, he was more of a hunting guy, but he got all the stuff and did some of it.
“It seemed to bypass him – the obsession at least – and settled on me for some reason.”
In his youth, his parents signed him up for fly-tying lessons and he took to it well and he subsequently spent as much free time as he could in the sport.
Starting each chapter are colourful illustrations by McLennan’s wife Lynda setting the scene for the book’s overall mood.
“A collection is hard to illustrate because it’s not just that kind of book; you’re not going to have technical drawings on how to do stuff,” McLennan said.
“They have a strong but general association with what’s going on in the words.”
McLennan has authored four books on fly-fishing, and is a contributing editor for Fly Fisherman and Fly Fusion.
He has in the past received the Andy Russell Nature Writing Award, Trout Unlimited Canada’s Bob Paget Memorial Conservation Award and the Outdoor Writers of Canada Best Book of the Year Award.
For more information or to purchase Trout Tracks, visit https://rmbooks.com/book/trout-tracks/.